College Basketball Odds, Picks, Predictions for UConn vs. West Virginia: Where the Value Lies in Morgantown
Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images
- UConn takes on West Virginia in Morgantown without two of its best players, Adama Sanogo and Tyrese Martin.
- The Huskies will likely set the tempo in this game, as they will rely heavily on their guards.
- D.J. James breaks down the matchup and offers up his best bet.
UConn vs. West Virginia Odds
-110o / -110u
|West Virginia Odds|
-110o / -110u
The Connecticut Huskies head on the road to Morgantown to play West Virginia.
Upon losing to Marquette in Charleston, the Mountaineers have taken care of business with their lesser opponents.
UConn has done the same since dropping its Thanksgiving outing to Michigan State. However, the Huskies are without Adama Sanogo and Tyrese Martin, so that could hinder their success in this road test.
UConn is definitely the better of these two teams, but heading to the country roads does not bode well for West Virginia’s opponents.
Since UConn has looked a bit questionable without two of their best players, the play in this game is the total. The Huskies should still be able to push the pace.
UConn is a potential title contender at full strength, but Sanogo and Martin combine for 28.5 points and 14 rebounds per game.
Without either, Akok Akok and Isaiah Whaley have seen the lion’s share of the playing time in the post. They may still carry the rebounding advantage, as West Virginia greatly struggles in that department, but these two are a significant step down. This essentially eliminates UConn’s major post advantage.
The Huskies will, however, likely focus on outside play. Do not forget this team is shooting 37.9% from deep this season, led by (of those playing) R.J. Cole, Whaley and Jalen Gaffney. If Dan Hurley can keep the ball in their hands, the Huskies can get hot from deep.
In addition, this team likes to slash to the bucket. Cole and Gaffney each have over 30 free throw attempts on the young season, so given the opportunity, they will take their shot driving.
This plays into the hands of the over because UConn shoots 75.1% from the line as a unit. The Huskies have many better shooters from the strike than both Sanogo and Martin, so they should be able to knock down their free points when provided to them.
West Virginia’s most significant weakness is its inability to crash the glass. With Sanogo and Martin sidelined, this plays into their hands.
They only average 32.9 rebounds per game. Still, they rank 51st in the nation (so not terrible) in offensive rebounding. Those numbers absolutely plummet on the defensive side.
This game will be played through the guards, which is West Virginia’s strength.
Building off of that narrative, Sean McNeil did practice yesterday. Outside of Taz Sherman, he is the leading scorer and shoots 34.2% from downtown. With him playing, it is just an added bonus for Bob Huggins & Co.
Now, West Virginia is not a strong shooting team from behind the arc, but Malik Curry, Jalen Bridges and McNeil should be able to manufacture outside shot opportunities.
With a more balanced game inside the paint — due to UConn’s notable injuries — the Mountaineers will be able to kick the ball outside when necessary to their sharp shooters.
Lastly, West Virginia — as always — runs its press on defense and this contributes to the second-highest turnover rate. The Mountaineers forced 13 turnovers from Marquette and 20 from Clemson.
UConn only ranks 87th in offensive turnover percentage, so West Virginia will be able to cause havoc and steal some freebies.
Four players on the Mountaineers average over one steal per game. Kendrick Johnson and Sherman are defensive specialists, so the Huskies’ backcourt will have issues with their pressure.
UConn vs. West Virginia Betting Pick
With questionable and injured players on both sides of the ball, the spread is not the angle here.
West Virginia typically slows the pace in games, but its best attribute of turning over opponents will be prominent in this game. 3-point shooters will be able to find their shots, as well.
This game will be played more to the tune of UConn’s pace, so take the over at 137 and play it to 139.